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Personal Statement

Dr. Irena Ilieva specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders and trauma- and stressor-related conditions. She has completed rigorous CBT training at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital (post-doctoral fellowship and pre-doctoral internship) and the University of Pennsylvania (doctoral degree). While mainly practicing individual therapy, Dr. Ilieva also facilitates a low-cost CBT skills workshop in small groups. Along with clinical work, she is involved in research on cutting-edge treatments that promise to optimize cognition in depression. She is committed to maintaining expertise in research-supported treatments, while flexibly selecting the optimal approach for each individual.

Biographical Info

Irena Ilieva received her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Amherst College. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital. At Cornell and at Penn, Dr. Ilieva has received intensive, specialized training and supervision in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for a variety of clinical conditions and life difficulties. Although her primary focus is CBT, her work is also informed by supervised experiences in psychological assessment and schema therapy, as well as by exposure to dialectical behavioral and psychodynamic approaches.

Aside from her clinical work, Dr. Ilieva is actively involved in research. Her broad interest is cognitive enhancement: the use of medications, non-invasive brain stimulation or CBT skills to optimize cognition and, in turn, promote quality of life. Currently, her work at the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry focuses on the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation (specifically, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS) in the treatment of depression and its cognitive correlates. In addition, Dr. Ilieva has studied the use of unprescribed stimulant medication for cognitive enhancement in high-functioning young people. Some of her first-author work is published in influential neuroscience journals (e.g., Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropharmacology) and covered by the popular press.

Honors and Awards

Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania (2009 – 2014)

Netter Graduate Scholarship, Thanks To Scandinavia Foundation (2012 – 13)

Travel grants, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, University of Pennsylvania (2013)

Clinical Expertise
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
Social Phobia
Panic Disorder
Specific Phobia
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Adjustment Disorder
  • Ph.D.
    University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A.
    University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A.
    Amherst College
  • Assistant Attending Psychologist
    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry
    Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University

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No External Relationships Reported